September wagering lands record month for Pennsylvania sportsbooks

Pennsylvania’s online and retail sportsbooks entered an exclusive club of sports betting markets during September, generating a record $462.8m in bets. The Keystone State joins New Jersey and Nevada in surpassing $450m in wagers in a single month, according to PlayPennsylvania.

September’s handle was up 137.9% from $194.5m in September 2019 and easily surpassed the previous record of $365m set just last month. But the record wagers produced just $6.3m in taxable revenue, down from $18.3m in August and $14.9m in September 2019, a result of heavy promotion and some unlucky results for sportsbooks. September revenue yielded $2.1m in state taxes and another $125,398 in local share assessments.

“With the beginning of the NFL season, a full schedule of baseball, and the NBA and NHL playoffs, there may never be such a confluence of sporting events again,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Like New Jersey, Pennsylvania has created a well-rounded market that can drive significant action on every major sport. That market dynamic was able to bear fruit in September in a way that may never be fully possible again.”

Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com, commented: “The question now becomes whether Pennsylvania can sustain this level once the sports calendar returns to normal. “Pennsylvania has etched a place in the top tier of gaming markets and could possibly pass Nevada as the nation’s No. 2 market before the end of the year.”

Online wagering accounted for 89.5%, or $414.1m, of September’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/Valley Forge Casino extended its online supremacy with $168m in online bets, up 16.2% from $144.6m wagered in August. Those bets produced $2.4m in taxable revenue, down from $8.9m in August.

Penn National’s mid-September launch of the Barstool Sports-branded sportsbook on the Hollywood Casino license, the 10th online sportsbook in the state, bears particular watching said PlayPennsylvania. Barstool/Hollywood Casino generated $29.9m in bets, losing $2.8m on those bets, in just two weeks of operation.

“Barstool adds a brand name with a uniquely loyal following, and its launch comes with high hopes,” Gouker said. “On the surface it seems like it has the potential to eat into the dominant market shares of FanDuel and DraftKings. But that is no easy task considering how entrenched both have become in the Pennsylvania market.”

In-person betting continued to rebound with $48.7m in bets in September. Retail sportsbooks won $5.1m on those bets, up from $2.8m in August. Rivers-Philadelphia claimed the top retail spot with $11.4m in bets and gross revenue of $1.2m. Parx Casino was second with $7.7m in wagers and $$866,870 in revenue.

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